Biden and lawmakers are nearing an agreement to strengthen border control measures.

Evmark Business Solutions

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress is close to reaching a deal with the Biden administration that would implement significant changes to the nation’s immigration system. The proposed legislation would grant the executive branch the power to temporarily pause asylum processing in certain areas along the southern border when migrant crossings reach a certain threshold. This would primarily affect remote areas in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, where migrants often cross into the U.S. illegally and surrender themselves to overwhelmed immigration officials.

The deal, which is expected to be announced this week, would be the first major bipartisan overhaul of the immigration system since the 1990s. However, it may face challenges in the House, where conservative lawmakers have pushed for even stricter changes to the asylum system. Additionally, divisions among Republican lawmakers have intensified after former President Trump came out against the deal, stating that he would “rather have no bill than a bad bill.”

If passed into law, the legislation would give the president the authority to suspend asylum in between official ports of entry when migrant crossings exceed certain levels. This power would be triggered when average daily crossings reach 5,000 over seven days, or 8,500 in a single day. It could also be used at the discretion of the president when average daily crossings surpass 4,000 in a week. There would also be a limit on the number of days per year that the president could invoke this authority.

During the period when this authority is in effect, migrants who enter the U.S. illegally would not be able to request asylum and would be subject to immediate deportation. This measure is intended to address the unprecedented levels of illegal crossings seen in the past three years. President Biden referred to this power as the ability to “shut down the border” during a speech on Friday.  

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